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Another Connection Confirmed, or, We Are Family! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Larry Grinnell   
Saturday, 15 December 2012 15:36

DNA testing is the latest tool in a genealogist's arsenal, and can be very effective in plugging pesky lineage gaps, and sometimes disproving presumed links, too.

Recently, GFA member Helen Grinnell King (GFA#598) had a DNA test performed at the FamilyTreeDNA website, to see who she might be able to link up with. As it turns out, both my 2nd Cousin, GFA board member David L. Grinnell (GFA#95) and I independently had DNA testing done by the same company. The first results of this proved that David and I were indeed related, proving our lineage back to Robert Jason Grinnell Jr. (1854-1906), but I haven't yet pursued some other names submitted by individuals whose DNA markers matched ours.

Last week (week of Dec. 4), I got an email from Helen's husband Mel, who noted that Helen's DNA had matched up with mine. That's all well and good, but then it occurred to me that Helen was in the Matthew1 Daniel2 Richard3 Daniel4 line, while I was in the Matthew1 Matthew2 Matthew3 Matthew4 line!

Whattheheck does this all mean?

It validates the relationship between two of the main Grinnell lines (Matthew Sr./Rose to Matthew Jr. and Daniel), with Matthew Greenell, the progenitor and immigrant, as our common ancestor. I'd like to find someone who can trace their line back to the other brother, Thomas, so that we can use DNA matching to prove that link, too.

Once I got all this thrRussell Grinnell, Sr.ough my head, I hauled out the genealogy software and did a quick cousin calculation. Helen and I are 9th cousins in the same generation. And, as I already knew, my father, Norman F. Grinnell (1906-1958) worked for her grandfather, Russell Grinnell Sr. (1875-1948), who was the CEO of Grinnell Company, makers of fire protection components, and now a division of the big conglomerate Tyco. When my father was first hired as a pipefitter at Grinnell in the 1920s (he eventually worked his way up to be a sales engineer), he was called into Russell's office.

Russell welcomed him to the company in one breath, and in the next, advised my father that if he ever told anyone they were related, he'd be fired! Well, now we know that they were 7th cousins, once removed.

I guess nepotism was only OK for Russell and his father, Grinnell Company founder, Frederick Grinnell. Company ownership has its privileges, after all...

Last Updated on Friday, 11 January 2013 17:50